FC Dallas is looking for a Director of Communications & PR. If you’re interested and meet the requirements, please check out this website to apply. Good luck!
The Director, Communications and Public Relations manages and executes all public relations activities of FC Dallas and Pizza Hut Park. As the head of the department, this position advises top management on communications strategy, supports the various functional areas (Corporate Partnerships, Player Personnel, Special Events, Foundation/CR etc.) of FC Dallas, acts a spokesperson to the media, coordinates the PR activities of the team and manages the PR activities of all events. The position is based in Frisco, TX.
While many people visiting this website hope to work in a PR capacity for a pro sports team, I want to use SPRB as a platform to open people’s minds to other positions within the sports PR field. Tim Fitzpatrick was kind enough to answer some of my questions about what he does as the VP of Communications for the Comcast Sports Group. So without further ado…
1) You currently work as the VP of Communications for Comcast Sports Group. How did you land that position and what previous work experiences helped prepare you for the job?
Before being promoted to my current position, I worked in Comcast’s corporate communications office overseeing financial and policy communications. When I began, I helped form Comcast’s corporate communications function – Comcast was a smaller organization and did not have a corporate PR department at the time. I was fortunate to rise with a rapidly growing company and my position afforded me a broad perspective across the company. I knew that programming was an area I wanted to learn more about because people enjoy interacting and being entertained. Seemed like a fun and good business.
Prior to Comcast I had a number of PR positions in politics and on Capitol Hill, including working on two national presidential conventions and a presidential and congressional campaign. Political experience is invaluable for learning to think on your toes and work collaboratively with a wide variety of people in often-intense circumstances. Politics, like sports, brings together passionate and committed people.
2) What responsibilities do you have with your current position?
My job has two principal components (plus a lot of smaller ones too). I provide communications counsel to the business and communications leaders at each of our local networks, and I promote our business in national and trade media outlets.
I’m a bit slow in relaying this video to SPRB readers, but OTL took an in-depth look at Twitter and athletes that you will want to check out below.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced the signing of Michael Vick to a two-year deal last Thursday night, sending shock waves around the sports world. While it would take me way too long to try to roundup all the Vick coverage, I do want to address some PR-related articles and comment on the signing. Please feel free to chip in your two cents in the comment section, I’d love to hear what you are thinking on this situation.
PR for Vick
SPRB had previously linked to a blog post at Shutdown Corner that talked about what Vick needed to do upon leaving prison to get his career back in order. Gable PR also offered up some suggestions for Vick to help rehab his image.
The process began when Tony Dungy spoke with Vick while he was still in prison. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell learned of that conversation and asked Dungy to formally take Vick under his wing and help guide him as he returned to the NFL and life after prison. He has also been speaking with Boys & Girls Clubs about dog fighting and the importance of loving your pets. Vick agreed to do an interview with James Brown for 60 Minutes, which many deemed a success for both the athlete and the program.
The next step was to sign with an NFL team, which he did late last week. A press conference was held to address the signing with Vick, Dungy, and head coach Andy Reid speaking with reporters. The Phanatic Magazine has a transcript up of the remarks that were said.
The Grand Rapids Griffins, an AHL team, is looking for a PR intern to work game nights. If you’re interested, please visit this website and apply by September 18.
The Grand Rapids Griffins, primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings and member of the American Hockey League, announce an opening for a Public Relations Intern for Home Games. The internship starts in October 2009 and lasts until the conclusion of the 2009-10 season (April-June 2010).
The internship is intended to help prepare the student for employment with a professional sports team. Previous members of the Griffins public relations department have continued on to work for the Berlin Thunder (NFL Europe), Cleveland Browns (NFL), Denver Broncos (NFL), Denver Outlaws (MLL), Detroit Vipers (IHL), Florida Panthers (NHL), Grand Rapids Rampage (AFL), Indianapolis Indians (MILB), San Antonio Rampage (AHL), and the University of Florida.
SPRB is pleased to post this interview with Nate Ewell, who is the Director of Media Relations for the Washington Capitals as well as founder/editor for Inside College Hockey. Not only does he get to work for an exciting hockey team and with a dynamic personality in star forward Alex Ovechkin, but Ewell and the rest of the Caps’ PR department has won the Dick Dillman Award three years in a row. The award is given to the PR staff judged to be the best in each conference as voted by the Professional Writers Hockey Association. I want to thank Ewell for taking the time to answer my many questions for SPRB. Enjoy!
1) How did you get your current position with the Capitals and how long have you held that position? What previous work experiences helped prepare you for your position?
This will be my seventh season with the Capitals, my fifth in a row. I had worked in sports information and for the student paper at Princeton and after graduating took an internship with the sports information department at Michigan State. That evolved into a full-time position and I was there for three years, working mostly with the hockey team but also other sports (football, women’s golf, etc.). After Michigan State I had a brief stint with US Lacrosse before I learned about a position with the Capitals in 2000. I spent two years as a manager in the media relations department before leaving in 2002 to work for NBC at the Salt Lake Olympics. After that I worked outside of sports, editing home and design books and magazines, while launching a web site, InsideCollegeHockey.com.
After the lockout my boss Kurt Kehl invited me back to the Capitals and I was happy to take him up on it.
I think everything I’ve done has helped me prepare for this job – even editing home plan magazines when I wasn’t working in sports – but I probably learned the most during my stints in sports info at Princeton and Michigan State.
2) Your department has created its own Twitter account, blog, and Caps Today feature on the website to keep media members (and fans) abreast of any new Caps developments. When did you decide that these would be beneficial platforms to use and what has the reception been like from the media?
We launched each of those projects independently, but in general they fit the idea of the organization providing more original content, and our department reaching fans directly rather than relying on the media to carry our message.
Caps Today started two years ago as an email to our media with two main goals: give them the next three days’ practice schedule to help with planning and give them a good, timely storyline to try to convince them to come out (or to help bring them up to speed in case they did come out). It’s been overwhelmingly positive, with a big benefit we didn’t foresee – it starts a lot of conversations with media members who will reply to the email.
We started our @capsmedia Twitter account last year simply because we had members of the media ask to get practice schedule updates via text. We did some research and that seemed like the easiest way. As Twitter has exploded, however, we’ve been able to use it in other ways as well (releases, notes during games, even audio interviews using TweetMic). Some media have been slow to convert but I think those who are on Twitter appreciate it. I also have a Twitter account (@nateeewell) as does our assistant director of media relations, Paul Rovnak (@paulrovnak).
The blog gives us a chance to write a bit and share some behind-the-scenes stories, and to alert our fans of upcoming interviews or good stories. I’m not sure we’ve found the best uses for it yet – or if it has much of a readership – but it’s something we enjoy doing and hopefully some people find it useful or entertaining.
The Chicago Steel, a hockey team in the USHL, wants a media relations intern and that could be you! If you would like to apply, simply visit this website. Good luck!
The ideal candidate will be hard working, dependable and have a long-range goal to pursue a career in sports marketing.
As an intern with the Chicago Steel, you will gain valuable experience in all areas of a sports team. As the Media Relations intern you will be assisting with gameday operations and pregame setup, but you will be mainly focused on writing the post game story and contacting the local media outlets.
The Hamilton Bulldogs want a communications intern for the upcoming season. If interested, please visit this website. Good luck!
The Communication Intern is responsible to assist in all communications in both business and hockey operations in terms of media relations. He/She will work closely with the communications department, marketing staff, play-by-play announcer, coaches and players to promote the hockey club. The Communications Intern will assist in controlling all information that is distributed to the media, as well as build and maintain media relationships.
I did not attend the Big Ten media days held late in July in Chicago, but some University of Michigan sports bloggers did and critiqued the event. Need to put on a media day event for your team? Take into consideration what these guys have to say.
Primary Complaint: Not enough time
- Tim of MGoBlog believed that the two half-days were not enough time for the media in attendance. He argues that if you have all of these reporters traveling to Chicago for the weekend, why limit it to just eight hours over two days?
- According to the bloggers, the first day consisted of 15-minute press conferences with each head coach. It’s not too surprising that some media members felt the press conferences could have lasted longer since there were so many reporters in attendance. MGoBlog writes that the SEC gave coaches 45 minutes to talk to the media. The SEC media day went three days. I do want to note that while the media day may have seemed short, Rich Rod was busy from 10 a.m. through 7 p.m. EDT on the first day.
- Tim also mentions that on the second day when the media could talk to the three players representing their team, he only made it to just over half of his goal of asking each player a couple of questions in two hours. He didn’t even attempt trying to talk to the coach one-on-one because of the lengthy line to do so.
- U-M sports blog Maize N Brew commented on coach Rich Rodriguez selection of the three players representing his team. Dave thought he picked some “outstanding young men” to represent the Maize and Blue. If you are hosting a media day that will not have every athlete on the team in attendance, make sure you select the right players to go. Now you don’t want to pick obscure names that the media may not find interesting, but you want to ensure that the right people are representing your program.
- Dave also remarked on how much he appreciated Rich Rod’s straightforward answers. While he would not discuss certain issues like why a player left the team, he was open and honest with the vast majority of questions. Reporters don’t want to just be fed a line. While every coach has their moments where they have to keep some tidbits to themselves, it’s important to have a coach that is professional but understands the importance of the media.
Every event is going to have its upsides and downsides, you just hope the upsides outweigh those downsides. What do you think makes for a successful media day? For those of you who read or watched the press conferences from this event, did you get enough information?
Photo By Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images
I uploaded another post on SPRB today about the Big Ten’s football media days last month and I wanted to address what a media day is exactly and provide an example from personal experience. (If you look really really hard, you can spot me in the back row on the left side of the press conference shown above.)
So what is a media day? Basically, it’s when you set aside X amount of time to simply assist the media. A media day can be before the start of training camp, the Super Bowl or Stanley Cup Finals, the draft or All-Star Game, or before the first practice. You want to hold a media day when there is a lot of interest and media inquiries (e.g. newspapers and magazines want to put out season previews so a media day gives them a chance to not just talk to the coach but players).
You’ll also find that TV and radio want to record spots or commercials for their programs (e.g. the Big Ten Network getting the coaches for a commercial during the Big Ten media day), which is easiest to do when everyone is right there. Whenever you see FOX go through the offensive players (where they say their name, college, etc.) or when CBC asked each of the Red Wings who their role model was growing up during the Stanley Cup Finals, that was likely done at a media day.
Photo By Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images
Locker rooms or your average media lounge aren’t the most ideal locations to host masses of people trying to interview various subjects. A media day can happen outdoors or in a large conference hall, but it offers enough room to accommodate all of the credentialed media members.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to work the NHL’s media day prior to the start of the Stanley Cup Finals in each of the last two seasons. The event lasts one afternoon and roughly goes as follows: